Welcome to my Guest Blogger - Rachel
This post is super special! I am thrilled to have a guest blogger here on my site! I reached out to my fellow teachers asking if they would be willing to share their experiences using the Eureka Math/Engage NY Math curriculum. I wanted others to benefit and learn their tips and tricks. I was thrilled when Rachel reached out to me and was willing to share what she has learned. Rachel and I worked together in a Title I public school a few years ago, and she has since become a home-school mom and is STILL using the program, which speaks volumes to me! When Rachel generously agreed to write about her experiences using Engage NY/Eureka math at home, I sent her the lessons I created for classroom teachers to see if they might be useful in some way to her as a home-school parent, and she loved them!
Keep reading to learn more about Rachel and her experience using Eureka Math / Engage NY Math as a home-school parent.
This year school looks very different for most of our kids.
Like many families, we all have difficult choices to make about what works best for our kids. Some students are headed back to the classroom, some have found a virtual school is the right fit, and others are venturing into the world of homeschooling.
This article is meant to encourage families who have chosen to home-school with Engage NY (Eureka Math).
As a first year teacher my district decided to roll out this amazing new math program. Since it was the only thing I knew, I absolutely fell in love with the curriculum. I was not only learning how to teach math in an exceptional way, the way that students could get a really deep understanding of math concepts, I was learning new strategies myself.
That’s right, as a first grade teacher using Engage NY, I honestly got better at mental math and learned so many amazing strategies.
Read the lesson beforehand. This really helps you get an idea of any supplies you might need for the lesson. Also, it gives you a better idea of how you will conduct the activities for the lesson. If your child is anything like mine, they will most likely lose patience as you scramble to reread exactly how they want you to teach a part of the lesson.
Be flexible when it comes to supplies. The best part about teaching one student verse twenty five is that you only need to gather supplies for one student! Sometimes the lesson calls for a lot of supplies that you will only use once, most of the time you can be flexible with props and manipulatives that you use. The first lesson I taught, I did not have beans on hand, but I did have blueberries. Blueberries worked as a fabulous substitute. I did not have to wait another day until I went to the store to find the exact manipulatives. One of the greatest things about homeschooling is getting to be so much more flexible. Preparing or substituting for one student is much easier than for a whole class.
Cut up the lesson into sections. These sections are perfect for homeschooling! This is especially true if you have more than one child to take care of or just an overall busy day. I have found that the fluency portion can easily be done over breakfast. Do not be afraid to do the fluency activity whenever you have time in your day. Kids love the fluency games and you may find yourself doing them more and more throughout the day during down times. A problem solving notebook is an excellent choice as well to help break the lesson up if you are short on time or your child struggles with focusing for longer time periods. Find an easy time of the day to have them work on the problem in their notebook. You can still come back to it during the main lesson.
Find innovative ways for student interaction. A main component of this curriculum is getting students to talk about the math that they are learning. This really helps foster a deeper understanding of the math concepts they are discovering, but it can be tricky when homeschooling. When the lesson asks for students to talk with a partner or small group, I have found a few ways to achieve this. Some days my son tells his baby sister what he is doing, or we find stuffed animals to join our group discussion. You could also zoom with other homeschooling students on the same lesson. Another idea would be to call a grandparent and talk with them about what they are learning. The point is to have students talk about what they are discovering and there are many creative ways to achieve this. I have started incorporating this into our nightly dinner conversations. This way my son has something to talk about with an unfamiliar ear. His dad does not know what we did that day and he gets to explain the math concept we worked on for that day.
Get the presentations! The first few days I tried to just get away with only using the paper lesson. This was fine, but I knew from teaching in a classroom that presentations are so much easier! With homeschooling I decided I wanted this to be as easy as possible for me. Once I started using the pre-made presentations from Teach the Way they Learn, I was so impressed with how much easier it made delivering the lesson content. I love how I am not spending time every night creating my own presentations like I used to for my classroom. I also love how fluid and easy it is to use these presentations to teach at home. These are so well made and follow the lesson perfectly. I would consider these my secret to successfully teaching Engage NY at home.
Classroom Teacher Doctor of Education
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